Pot Pourri

Singapore probes couple over anti-death penalty shirts
Singapore: A Singaporean couple who wore anti-death penalty t-shirts at a running event are under investigation for violating tough laws against public protests, police said Wednesday.
The city-state’s laws against dissent and street demonstrations make it illegal for even one person to hold a protest without a police permit. Nafiz Kamarudin, 38, and his 30-year-old wife wore the t-shirts at a run Sunday organised by local group the Yellow Ribbon Project aimed at showing support for ex-offenders and their efforts to re-integrate into society. They bore the words “2nd Chances means not killing them” on the front and “#antideathpenalty” on the back.
Singapore has steadfastly defended its use of capital punishment for offences like drug trafficking and murder as a deterrent against crime, despite calls from rights groups to abolish it. Kamarudin, co-founder of a local NGO, told AFP that he and his wife were being investigated for “wearing t-shirts with a message of compassion”.
“Tell me how can you promote the idea of giving ex-offenders a second chance if we send people to their death?” The Yellow Ribbon Project advocates giving a second chance to former prisoners. Police said that two people were being probed for offences under the public order act, punishable for first-time offenders with a fine of Sg$3,000 ($2,200). (AFP)


Indonesia raises minimum age for marriage
Jakarta: Indonesian Parliament has raised the minimum age for women to marry to 19 in an effort to curtail child marriage in the country.
There was unanimous agreement on the revision to the country’s existing marriage law, according to a statement on Indonesia’s House of Representatives’ website.
Under current laws, girls are allowed to marry at 16 and boys to marry at 19, while parents can also ask religious courts or local officials to authorize marriages of younger girls — with no minimum age in such cases, media reports said. According to Unicef, about 14 per cent of girls in Indonesia are married before their 18th birthdays, and 1 per cent are married before they turn 15.
Girls Not Brides — an international non-governmental organization with the mission to end child marriage throughout the world — said that Indonesia has the eighth highest number of child marriages in the world at more than 1 million. (IANS)


World’s oldest bird species discovered
Melbourne: Scientists have discovered fossils of one of the world’s oldest bird species in New Zealand that lived about 62 million years ago, soon after the dinosaurs died.
Bony-toothed birds (Pelagornithids), an ancient family of huge seafaring birds, were thought to have evolved in the Northern Hemisphere — but that theory has been upended by the discovery of the family’s oldest, but smallest member in North Canterbury, New Zealand.
At 62 million-years-old, the newly-discovered Protodontopteryx ruthae, is one of the oldest named bird species in the world, according to the study published in the journal Papers in Palaeontology. While its descendants were some of the biggest flying birds ever, with wingspans of more than five metres, Protodontopteryx ruthae was only the size of an average gull, researchers said. Like other members of its family, the seabird had bony, tooth-like projections on the edge of its beak, they said.
The seabird fossil was identified by the same team that recently announced the discovery of a 1.6 metre-high giant penguin from the same site.
Amateur paleontologist Leigh Love found the partial Protodontopteryx skeleton last year at the Waipara Greensand fossil site.
The bird was named Protodontopteryx ruthae after Love’s wife Ruth, researchers said. According to Paul Scofield, a curator at Canterbury Museum in New Zealand, the age of the fossilised bones suggests pelagornithids evolved in the Southern Hemisphere. “While this bird was relatively small, the impact of its discovery is hugely significant in our understanding of this family,” Scofield said. (PTI)


US teen threatens to shoot ‘400 people for fun’, charged
Washington: A teenager in the US state of Oklahoma has been arrested with a rifle after she allegedly threatened to shoot “400 people for fun”, including some at her former high school, authorities said.
Alexis Wilson, 18, was charged with felony terrorist hoax and was being held on a $250,000 bond at a local jail, according to court documents.
She told her coworker at a pizza restaurant on Monday that she had purchased a semi-automatic AK-47, according to a report from the Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office.
Two coworkers reported to authorities that Wilson showed off pictures of her holding the rifle and said there were people at her old school in McAlester that she would like to gun down.
Wilson was located near her home by deputies and she told them “she was just trying to teach her coworker not to be afraid of firearms”, but failed to explain why she made a specific threat towards the school.
According to an affidavit, Wilson said that she was bullied when she went to the school but was “always good about just ignoring it.”
The deputies found the rifle with six high-capacity magazines and several rounds of ammunition in her room, along with a shotgun.
Wilson had dropped out of the high school in her freshman year, local reports said, citing school officials.
Investigators were also told that the teenager had been suspended for bringing a knife to school and having a swastika symbol on some of her belongings.
If convicted, Wilson faces up to 10 years in prison. (IANS)

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